Jun 232017
 

Happy Friday readers!!  I am so excited to welcome the lovely and kind, Cassandra Grafton to Austenesque Reviews (for her first official visit!)  You may have heard that Cassandra’s newest book – A Quest For Mr. Darcy released YESTERDAY!   Woot woot!  And we thought it would be fun to sit down and have a little chat about her writing and her new release!  We hope you enjoy!

Hi Cassandra!  Thank you so much for this lovely visit to Austenesque Reviews!  As you well-know from my reviews and frequent mentions, I am an ardent admirer of your novels – the introspective A Fair Prospect Trilogy and the inventive The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, which you co-wrote with Ada Bright!   I am so excited to have you here in celebration of your new release, A Quest for Mr. Darcy

I understand A Quest for Mr. Darcy is a Pride and Prejudice variation that begins soon after Mr. Darcy returns from Kent and realizes he cannot forget Elizabeth Bennet, even though she’s rejected him…and so he plans to do something a little drastic!  I always love hearing how authors come up with their ideas, do you mind sharing your inspiration behind this new variation?

It’s so lovely to be here, Meredith, and I’m delighted to talk about the origins of my new story!

It’s been a long time in finishing, because I had the initial idea back in 2010. It was put aside after I started it, and I only picked up my pen to continue back in the autumn of last year.

The inspiration first came to me when I was lying on a beach (though there’s no beach in the story) sunbathing (ditto) in Portugal (nope) and, much to my husband’s mild annoyance, I then spent the next couple of hours lying still for a few minutes, then sitting up suddenly and grabbing my pencil and notebook. Then, I’d lie down again only to sit up soon after to add more notes, and so it continued!

Finding the inspiration for a story set in autumnal Derbyshire on a beach in Portugal is more logical than it first sounds. I had just finished writing A Fair Prospect, which had been completed only two months’ earlier, and my mind hadn’t quite let go of the story or the characters. Lying on the beach relaxing, away from the day job and everyday cares, it is unsurprising Darcy and Elizabeth decided to pay me a visit!

In A Fair Prospect, as I’m sure you recall, Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves thrown into each other’s path, no matter where they move to: Kent, London or Bath. There is a scene whereby Elizabeth jokes that she is likely to return home to Longbourn to find her father has decided to move them to Derbyshire, and that was the idea that took shape as I lay on the beach!

This initial inspiration remained intact until about two years ago. I had recently re-read Pride & Prejudice, and had been struck with the scene where Lady Lucas is speculating with Mrs Bennet about the rumours surrounding the number of ladies and gentlemen Mr Bingley will bring to the Meryton assembly.
Here it is:

‘Lady Lucas quieted her (Mrs Bennet’s) fears a little by starting the idea of his being gone to London only to get a large party for the ball; and a report soon followed that Mr Bingley was to bring twelve ladies and seven gentlemen with him to the assembly. The girls grieved over such a number of ladies; but were comforted the day before the ball by hearing that instead of twelve, he had brought only six with him from London, his five sisters and a cousin.’

Volume I, Chapter 3

The second report of numbers is possibly hearsay as well, rather than fact, but what if it wasn’t? This statement is made after he has returned from London with his guests, so is there a chance it might be accurate?

I decided, for this story, I would take it to be so, and I brought into the mix Bingley’s having three younger half-sisters (the cousin being the lady who looked after them) in addition to Caroline Bingley and Mrs Hurst.

I get a lot of enjoyment from throwing hurdles in Darcy’s way, so I took these two ideas, set him on his ‘quest’ to do his duty, and then began making it as challenging as possible for the lovely man to stay steady to his purpose!

Oh, I love seeing Darcy facing some obstacles! And I like the idea of a larger Bingley family, that sounds interesting.  I wonder if more than one of them will have eyes for Mr. Darcy!  I think it is so great that you remember exactly when and where the idea came to you. 🙂 In A Fair Prospect I loved how you told parts of the story from both Darcy and Elizabeth’s point-of-view and spent a lot of time in their heads. Do we see some more of that in A Quest for Mr. Darcy?

Yes and no! I’m not sure how the Darcy and Elizabeth in A Fair Prospect became quite so introspective. It was one of those things that simply evolved once I’d started writing. Their emotions immediately after the first proposal must have been so raw, and I wanted to reflect that for both of them, and because that’s where the story kicked off, it fed how the rest of it was told.

This new story is told from Darcy’s point-of-view initially, and then it alternates between him and Elizabeth. When the main story commences, we’re almost 18 months on from the failed proposal, so they’re in a different place.

I have tried to deliver a balance for the reader between becoming immersed enough in the characters’ emotions to empathise with their thoughts and feelings, and the characters not becoming too internalised. I hope it works!

I bet it does, Cassandra! A balance between the two sounds perfect. 🙂 I think we all love to spend some time in Darcy’s head, so that’s great to see the bulk of your story from his point-of-view! What are some of the challenges you faced while writing this story? What parts came to you easily?

Ah, challenges! The main one was logistical, in trying to keep up with the twice-weekly posting schedule. I am one of the world’s biggest procrastinators, so I set myself that target to make me knuckle down and get the story written. I did have times when I missed the schedule, but the readers were incredibly patient and supportive.

Beyond that, the challenge was to keep the separate threads of the story running, but intersecting. I love adding some mystery to the romance, but it can get a bit complicated, and merging the threads at the appropriate time was tricky. I’m still not sure if I managed it successfully!

The part that came easiest to me was the dialogue throughout the story. I love it when characters take hold of their role and begin to speak for themselves! There are a few original characters in this story, and two of them in particular had a habit of hijacking a scene in this way!

Ooohhh! Everything you are saying makes me want to read this story more and more!! I love original characters and it is always fun when they steal the scene or cause some unexpected trouble! Super excited to meet these new characters of yours, Cassandra! Let’s do something fun now and switch it up with some Quickfire Questions!

What is one of your favorite Jane Austen quotes? Oh, so many to choose from! This always makes me laugh: Next week (I) shall begin operations on my hat, on which you know my principal hopes of happiness depend – from a letter to Cassandra

If you could travel back in time and meet Jane Austen at a specific time in her life, what time would you choose? 1803! She was 27, living in Bath and had drafted three novels but not yet published them. It is the age she is in The Particular Charm and we had so much fun ‘meeting’ her then! I’d just love to know if we got anything ‘right’!

Which Jane Austen character do you identify best with? Hmm, not too sure! In many ways, Anne Elliot, I suppose. Persuasion has become my favourite Austen novel in recent years. I was given a second chance at happiness in love, and 26 years of marriage later, I could not feel more blessed.

What is one of your favorite scenes in Pride and Prejudice? I love when Darcy turns up at Pemberley and surprises Elizabeth! I’m talking ‘book’ scene here, and I do love that the 1980 version of P&P captured this so well, setting their encounter in the gorgeous gardens at Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire.

From your own novels what is one of your favorite scenes? I have a favourite scene in A Quest for Mr Darcy, which was written a few years ago. It’s when Darcy and Elizabeth meet for the first time in this story, but I can’t say any more than that or it will spoil it!

What do you love most about Pride and Prejudice? It’s joy! I am a fair-weather reader (and film watcher). I love to close the last page of a book with a happy smile on my face, and P&P never fails to deliver.

What is your “truth universally acknowledged?” That a world without Jane Austen’s works would be a much poorer place.

If you were to meet Jane Austen, what would you like to hear her say? My name! I wish I could hear her call me her friend.

Oh, that was so lovely, Cassandra!  Terrific answers!  I especially love your “truth universally acknowledged!”  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview, Cassandra, I am so happy to have you as my guest on Austenesque Reviews today!

~~~

 Connect with Cassandra

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GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Today Cassandra brings a very lovely prize pack for me to give away to one lucky, lucky winner!

This generous prize pack includes:

  • One copy of A Quest for Mr Darcy (ebook or paperback)
  • An ‘I’d Rather be at Pemberley’ mirror
  • A set of Pride & Prejudice quote pencils
  • A Mr Darcy miniature portrait and easel stand
  • A set of 20 Jane Austen bookplates
  • An ‘I’d Rather be at Pemberley’ tote bag

To enter this giveaway, leave a question, a comment, or some love for Cassandra below!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Cassandra!
  • This giveaway ends June 30th!
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  107 Responses to “Interview + Giveaway with Author Cassandra Grafton!!!”

  1.  

    Lovely interview, thank you for sharing.

  2.  

    What a fun interview with Cassandra!! Mr Bingley being from a large family is a great idea 😀 It must have helped shape his friendly and open character, which Jane (& the rest of us I’m sure) love so about him.

  3.  

    It will be interesting to read what problems the other Bingley siblings can cause, and who they are more like in character – Charles, Caroline or Louisa

  4.  

    Interested to know how Mr. Darcy’s quest will go, and love that tote!

  5.  

    A fantastic interview! I thoroughly enjoyed the triology A Fair Prospect. Your muse was at work on the beach, and I agree with Meredith with your truth universally known! Thank you for the giveaway.

  6.  

    A wonderful interview which I enjoyed greatly. Thanks for this lovely giveaway.

  7.  

    Thank you for such a good interview and this lovely giveaway. I can’t wait to read this latest!

  8.  

    I really enjoyed A Fair Prospect trilogy. I love the premise for the new book. I am going on vacation soon and definitely need to add it to my TBR pile!

  9.  

    What a wonderful interview! I loved A Fair Prospect. Thank you for the generous giveaway.

  10.  

    I really liked A Fair Prospect and look forward to reading this. 3 more Bingley cousins….if they have any Caroline in them Darcy must have quite a handful to deal with!
    Thanks for the interview and giveaway.

  11.  

    It was an awesome day when I stumbled upon Cass’s blog. Loved it and can’t wait to start my CG book collection!

  12.  

    Such a lovely interview!! And I so enjoyed watching A Quest for Mr. Darcy unfold week by week; there is nothing quite like settling down to a new chapter with toast and tea each morning! 😀

    Congratulations on the release, Cassandra!! Yay!! And I loved hearing about how the ideas kept coming while you were on the beach!! 😀

    And thank you, Meredith, for this wonderful interview!! I enjoyed learning more about a beloved Austen variation!! And the twins may be my favorite original characters in Austen variations yet!! 😀

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

    •  

      I loved doing the interview with Meredith, Susanne! ❤️

      I valued so much your support during the writing of the story. So touched you loved the twins!

    •  

      Thank you, Susanne, you are such a dear! 🙂 I was super happy to have the opportunity to interview Cassandra! She gave some great answers!

  13.  

    Great interview! The Fair Prospect trilogy is in my top favorites of all time so I’m very excited for this new book. I love the idea of Bingley’s step sisters, I hope they give Caroline lots of trouble!! Thank you for the chance at this awesome giveaway.

  14.  

    I read this as it was posted on Cassandra Grafton’s blog and can highly recommend it to everyone. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I bought it as soon as it was available! (So you don’t need to enter me in the drawing.) The new characters are absolutely delightful, even the one we all loved to hate. (How’s that for being vague yet informative?) Let’s see what else can I say without giving away the story — there’s a picture book with drawings in it, there’s a very wet Mr. Fox, there’s a dog named Hero (gotta love stories with dog heroes in them), there’s a braying ass, and there’s a delightful love story involving two, or three, or more people, underlining everything that happens.

    •  

      Thank you for,the kind words, Jan. You could still enter to win the prizes, if not the book!

      Absolutely loving your subtle summary!!

  15.  

    Dearest Cassandra, may you spend many more days sunbathing on the beach if it inspires such great story-telling! I love every word you write.

  16.  

    Oh this looks wonderful! I can not wait to read your book A Quest for Mr. Darcy. Thank you for the chance to win the prize pack.
    Have a great weekend.
    Becky B

  17.  

    I love your books and cannot wait to read A Quest for Mr. Darcy.

  18.  

    Wonderful interview. Cannot wait to read your new book, A Quest for Mr. Darcy. What a fantastic giveaway.

  19.  

    Thanks Meredith for the interview. It was lovely to meet Cassandra and I look forward to reading her books which are all on my TBR lists. Thanks for the giveaway. Leslie

  20.  

    I’m so excited to see this book being featured here! I read it on the blog and LOVED it and I really look forward to reading the finished product. Loved the extended Bingley family by the way. They really added to an already fantastic story. Best Wishes Cass with your new publication and thanks Meredith for featuring one of my favorite authors. Jen Red

    •  

      Thank you so much, Jen, and for the fab support during the posting of the story. It makes me so happy you loved the twins! ❤️

    •  

      Hi Jennifer! Thanks so much for your lovely visit! I can’t wait to read this lovely story, glad to hear you loved it so much! I think it would be interesting to meet some new Bingley family members! 😉

  21.  

    Lovely interview. A Fair Prospect was delightful and can’t wait to dive into Quest!

  22.  

    hi, C ~ i just love getting to “know” you further, through interviews, your own postings, and your works. You so often “speak to me,” and echo deftly so many of my Jane thoughts and feelings. Your desire to hear her say your name, a name so very dear to her, is so potent. (Perhaps she’d abbreviate it!) 😉 And, your chosen quote… brilliant! Her wit, her irony! She makes me happy. You’ve inspired me to return to Persuasion, always my number two, while dreaming of winning your outstanding loot. ! lol!

    This was lovely, Meredith. Thank you!

    Karylee

  23.  

    Hi Cassandra! Congrats for your new release!. I wonder what you mean when saying : “and Darcy plans to do something a little drastic”…
    How good you found the inspiration when being at holidays!. Portugal is a beautiful country and has a british influence so it’s not strange you got the main idea there 🙂
    I’ve enjoyed the interview (thanks Meredith for these quickfire questions, I love them ) because it lets me know you better.
    Thank you for your generous prize! I’m excited with so many goodies as well as your novel!

  24.  

    loved learning about your inspiration for writing while lying on the beach.

    denise

  25.  

    The thought of a world without Jane Austen works……no, can not go there!! I am so excited to read your newest P&P adventure and delighted to know that I will have a smile on my face when I close the book!

  26.  

    Great interview! The books sounds wonderfully original and intriguing…can’t wait to read it.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  27.  

    Congratulations on your new book, Cass! I loved following it while you posted and I am very eager to read it again! What a wonderful giveaway!

  28.  

    I really LOVED the “A Fair Prospect” books! I can’t wait to read your new book!

    After the giveaway can you tell us where you got the pencils? I loved to get some. 🙂

  29.  

    Thanks for such a lovely interview ladies! “A Fair Prospect” was in my Desert Island Five a couple of years ago and still is, though it would have to be Ten (or even Twenty) nowadays as so much good stuff has been published since. Quest would definitely be in there!

    What do I love about Quest? So many things! Without giving away too many spoilers: Darcy and Elizabeth’s first meeting in Derbyshire, Bungley’s twin sisters (yes, that IS a typo – long story!), Colonel Fitzwilliam, Alice, Sarah, Darcy’s proposal *sigh!*. Oh, and there’s a Wentworth, too!

    Time to go as it seems my exclamation marks are getting a little out of control. Good luck with this wonderful new book, Cass. Anyone who didn’t follow it online is in for a real treat and those who did will be able to fall in love with the story all over again. I know I did!

    •  

      Aww, thank you, Anji. I’m so touched you still remember AFP fondly! Love your summary! Go Bungley, I say! lol

    •  

      I thought of you as I wrote parts of this interview, Anji! As I knew you, like me, adore A Fair Prospect! I can’t wait to read about all the moments you mentioned and see if I love them to! I’m sure I will1 😉 A Wentworth you say? Interesting… I love exclaiming! Most of my responses are with exclamations! LOL.

  30.  

    I’ve still got the giggles from imagining Cassandra popping up and down on a beach towel to scribble down book thoughts while her husband probably looks on thinking she’s nuts. LOL.

    Neat interview, ladies! I enjoyed the questions and answers. Looking forward to reading A Quest for Mr. Darcy.

  31.  

    What a delightful post. Oh-my-goodness, I love how you came up with ideas while on the beach. What fun! Thank you so much for the generous give-a-way! Good luck to all who enter. Congratulations on the launch and many blessings from it and all your work. Have a blessed day. JWG

  32.  

    What a great interview, Cass! I loved reading the story on your blog. Just started reading my Kindle version this morning. Congratulations on great book Cass.

  33.  

    Fabulous interview! Yes, like Anji ‘Fair Prospect’ was on my list too! One I have to re-read! Loved following ‘A Quest for Mr. Darcy’ on your blog and to think you came up with this story on a beach in Portugal! I just picture Mr. Darcy coming out of the ocean towards you but this time with no shirt on! I can only imagine your husband’s reaction to that! LOL! Congratulations again and thank you for the giveaway! That miniature is fabulous!

    •  

      LOL, Carole! I imagine someone may have done wet beach Darcy in a modern retelling, but I wonder if he’s done that in a a Regency one?! Thank you for all the support you gave me during the story’s posting.

      Good luck in the drawer!

  34.  

    This book sounds like a lot of fun and I enjoyed your interview so thank you for sharing with us here. I would love to win a copy (paperback) of this book and think several of the other prizes looked really fun as well. I especially love the tote bag, perfect for filling at the library with all the Pride and Prejudice Variations I have been checking out.

  35.  

    Wouldn’t it be the best thing in the world if Jane Austen called you her friend ?!! Had fun reading the interview & would love to be included in thisvgiveaway, thank you 🙂

  36.  

    The book sounds wonderful and I would love to travel back in tome to that era. I loved Pride & Prejudice by Austen. Thanks for the chance 🙂
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  37.  

    Great interview Meredith! & Great answers Cass. I loved A Fair Prospect and like this storyline idea. Poor Darcy – 5 Bingley women and only 1 married! Oh dear. Maybe Elizabeth needs to practice fighting for her man (that’s if she realises that he is her man).
    What a fabulous giveaway. So generous Cass. Thank you for the chance to win.

  38.  

    Wow, what a give away. I did read A Quest for Mr. Darcy as a WIP and now am reading the published book but all those others items are lovely also. So count me in the drawing. And thank you for sharing this with us.

  39.  

    I love getting the “behind the scenes” info from authors, especially how they get their ideas. Really enjoyed hearing how Cassandra got the idea for this book. I also agree that if would be amazing to hear Jane Austen call you “friend.”

    Thanks so much for the lovely giveaway, Meredith and Cassandra!

  40.  

    I also read the story as it was unfolding in Cassandra’s blog and thoroughly enjoyed it so I recommend it to all avid Austen fan fiction readers out there. A Fair Prospect is still one of my favourite variations of all time. I completely agree, Cass, that a world without the works of Miss Austen would be much less interesting and entertaining. It never ceases to amaze me that I never tire of retellings and variations on Austen’s stories as well as rereading the original works. That has to be the best investment of my money ever!
    I am already currently reading the published version of Quest for Mr Darcy…It is surprising how much I had forgotten of the story…I would still love to win the other goodies.
    Excellent interview! Thank you both.

  41.  

    Please keep writing, Cass! I’m looking forward to what you come up with next. I hope you had another idea percolating, because can’t wait to read it.

  42.  

    Life has been so insane I’m late coming to the party. I look forward to reading this one! I loved the Fair Prospect books so much!! Great interview (now I just want to be on a beach in Portugal…)

  43.  

    Cass is one of my favorite authors. The Fair Prospect series is my absolute favorite. Quest is EXCELLENT. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as each chapter was posted and bought it the first day of preorder.

  44.  

    Wow, thanks for the generosity! It was so interesting to read about how the idea of the book was concieved.

  45.  

    Loved reading Quest as you posted it and look forward to reading it again in its finished form. It was interesting to read how you came up with the story.For those of you who haven’t read it yet, get ready for the Bingley twins! And Colonel Fitzwilliam is a particular favorite of mine in this version too! You are in for a treat!

  46.  

    Great interview, Cassandra. You ask all the right questions, Meredith. A Quest for Mr Darcy sounds like the kind of story that I would enjoy and I look forward to reading it.

  47.  

    Congrats on your newest release! I’m looking forward to reading it. I enjoyed reading “A Fair Prospect” series! Great interview too, I agree with your comment regarding universal truths “That a world without Jane Austen’s works would be a much poorer place.” It’s evident that even after 200 years her work still means so much to so many people!

  48.  

    What a wonderful interview! I can’t wait to dive into this one! Thanks for the giveaway and the backstory for this book.

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